South America | Peru | Southern Peru | Puno – You absolute *************** Ben
I was due at the airport at 10am. I awoke, still a little drunk, at 10.30am, panic stations. What happened to my alarm going off at 8 …… it probably did, but I think a non-comatosed person in the dormitary got fed up when it didnt wake me after a while and kindly turned it off (who can blame them!). So the good while I needed to pack turned into 3 mins (and lots of swearing) ……. if anyone stays in this nameless hostel and finds my nice travel pillow, please forward. The other reason I needed to be up at 8am was due to the lack of Peruvian Sols in my wallet. After convincing the hostel owner to change my emergency dollars into enough for a taxi (at a rate he is still probably laughing about), I jumped into the nearest cab and headed for the airport (still swearing). My luck was in, the driver had some tenious relationship to Nigel Mansell and didn’t let Llamas/people/buses in his way stop him from driving like the wind. Fortunatley my limited knowlege of Spanish stretche to explaining I am seriously late for a plane.
Got to the airport, got on the plane, and the hangover kicked in …. like a ton of bricks. The air stuardess seemed quite amused (in an almost sadistic way) by the way I was clutching the sick bag as we flew over the Andes (I think hte pilot is related to my Nazca-Arequipa bus driver). So still not adjusted to 2500m altitude, I land at 3800m in the midday sun with the worlds worst hangover …… what can I say!
Fortunatley a local rich Lady took pity on me and gave me lift to Puno in her private car ……. Thankyou Danu!
With the hangover cured by slap up meal of …. yes Chicken and Chips, I set about haggling for Alpaca Sweaters and a tour of lake Titicaca. Did well on the jumper ….. I getting to like this bartering business, though I will have to remember when I buy something in New Zealnd, offering half the price will just cause either offence or amuzement!.
I have to say, most people I spoke too said to avoid Puno, as it was dull and quite ugly. You can’t call it pretty, but with a never ending market of everything from Jumpers to Toilet seats (and many things I couldn’ name) and locals more likely to talk to you than sell you something (fogetting the persistent and numerous shoe cleaners), I found it place I was glad not to rush through.